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Thread: Cast HP testing

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Cast HP testing

    What are your thoughts about testing cast hollow point handgun bullets?

    So far, I've cast sets using an unknown alloy from JHP cores, pellet, and .22lr. The first two with a lead pencil bhn 5 and the last with a lead pencil tested bhn 8-9. The next sets were 40:1 and 30:1 Pb:Sn ratios because they are the most common. I'm wondering if I should cast a 20:1 or even a 15:1 as Mihec claims his hp bullets use. I could graph any expansion and compare it to the MV of the test loads to match kinetic energy to hp alloy bullet expansion. Than shooting the bullets through a Medium, maybe if I dead dropped a weight on a commercial bullet like the Gold Dot to replicate the mushroom on Lucky Gunner and then use the same conditions against cast bullets.

    The bullets are 125gr HP MP bullets for 9mm, .38 Spcl, and .357 loads. I also cast 160r for 40cal and 200gr for 45acp. I'm thinking of shooting them into a a barrel of water or a box of wet mud. Or, if I can find shreded rubber, I'll use that.

    Has anyone did tests like this?

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Water filled gallon plastic water jugs. At least four deep.
    The ENEMY is listening.
    HE wants to know what YOU know.
    Keep it to yourself.

  3. #3
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    I’ve done testing with clear ballistic gel.

    I found that within reason the cavity shape matters more than the alloy. That being 20:1 vs. 50/50 coww and pure vs 50/50 coww and pure with 2% tin added.

    Not a giant range of testing but I used what most people would consider softer alloys, fit for the application.

    They all basically performed the same. Changing the hollow point pins made the biggest difference.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Forrest r's Avatar
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    I prefer to use wetpack for testing penetration/expansion. I tape newspapers together making 8"/9"/10" bundles. They get put (4 or 5 bundles) into a 48qt cooler and then the cooler is filled with water. The wetpack sits overnight soaking up the water. I bring the cooler filled with wetpack to the range and pull a bundle out, set it on the bowling pin table. Staple a target on it and walk back to the distance I want to test the load/bullet at.

    Some home swaged jacketed hp's made out of 40s&w cases I wanted to test.
    [IMG][/IMG]

    They say 1" of wetpack is equal to 1 1/2" of ballistic's gell (10%). I don't know about all that but the wetpack will clearly show penetration and the hp's performance. I tested those 45cal bullets pictured above in a 10" bundle of wetpack. 3 single shots and then a double tap @ 50 ft. The double tap blew out the back of the 10" bundle of wetpack.
    [IMG][/IMG]

    The target used for the testing and the recovered hp bullets. I used 8/9bhn alloy for the core of the hp. I didn't bond the core to the jacket and the hp was extremely deep with pleats. I wanted the hp to frag while penetrating. Here's what's left of those 225gr hp's.
    [IMG][/IMG]

    44cal jacketed hp's with bonded cores.
    [IMG][/IMG]

    The 38spl/fbi load used a 158gr hb hp lead swc bullet. I used a 210gr hb hp lead swc bullet for my snubnosed 44spl/1000fps load. Test bullet recovered from wetpack.
    [IMG][/IMG]

    Wetpack makes head-to-head testing simple. Mihec sells molds with multiple hp pins. Easy enough to cast different hp's using the same alloy and testing them with the same loads/velocities or ladder testing to see when the hp or alloy fails or performs the best. Several years ago I did testing with a 357mag/150gr home swaged jacketed hp. I wanted to cut down on the over penetration that the 357mags are known for. All test loads were using the same revolver/powder/load. I changed/manipulated the bullet.

    The results of the standard swaged bullet with a bonded core.
    [IMG][/IMG]

    Unbonded core with the standard strait hp.
    [IMG][/IMG]

    Unbonded cores with a +/- 5* bent hp pin making an angled hp hole.
    [IMG][/IMG]

    Those 357mag jacketed bullets were made using the same alloy/core/annealed 9mm cases for jackets.

    Anyway I like the results that wetpack give me. I can physically/clearly see the amount of penetration (easily measurable) and the ease of recovery of test bullet. Beats shooting the test load/bullets into the backstop.
    [IMG][/IMG]

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I’ve stood on the tailgate of the truck and shot straight down into a barrel of water to capture Hollowpoint pistol bullets.

    For penetration comparison I like 1 gallon plastic jugs filled with water or my new favorite or the 2.5 gallon DEF containers for the EPA emissions junk. You find them by the trash cans where diesel fuel is sold.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    What is a newspaper? I have heard about them as something OLD people used to stare at.


    Seriously, they just stopped delivering my paper 5-6 years ago and told me to look at it online.

    P.S. I am old, 71 in may.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rickf1985 View Post
    What is a newspaper? I have heard about them as something OLD people used to stare at.


    Seriously, they just stopped delivering my paper 5-6 years ago and told me to look at it online.

    P.S. I am old, 71 in may.
    Just use telephone books then!..........oh, wait. I'll be 72 in November.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master Forrest r's Avatar
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    Wow!!!

    Never thought about it having an endless supply at the local recycle center. They have areas/bins for cardboard, glass, cans, etc. Any time I want to do testing it's nothing to go to the recycled paper area and pick up what I need.

    At 64 I still see opportunity when it presents itself.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master fredj338's Avatar
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    Like Forrest I am a wetpack tester. Gel is great but diff to work with. Water is too forgiving of a poor bullet. I like phone books for the convenience but they are going away fast. I still have quite a few but when gone, I might go to gel but wont like it. Newsprint is an option but I dont get a paper anymore.
    I do fine with 20-1 for bullets over 1000fps to about 1300fps. Under 1000fps, 25-1 works fine but HP designs can vary quite a bit.
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  10. #10
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    Are any of you shooting testloads at various charges, the hottest charge, or the most accurate load with your hp loads? Are you modifying your hp with a serration such as a phillips hammered into the center or filling your hp holes with say silicon? What are your results?

  11. #11
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    I've assisted in quite a few industry demo gelatin shoots and made a couple of duty ammo recommendations based on some of the deep dives I've had to do in studying the matter. The FBI spec for "desirable" duty loads is 12"-18" of penetration in bare gel - 14" to 17" being pretty common in practice. Expansion that stops a bullet at that depth is typically around 1.5x to 1.75x starting diameter. For us working stiffs, lab-spec ballistic gel is expensive - milk jugs are cheap. I've found loads which are performing in the FBI happy zone are commonly stopped in 3 to 4 water-filled gallon milk jugs, with frequent evidence of the bullet being stopped by the boundary layer of plastic from one jug to the next (dents or cracks in the trailing or leading wall). Given that a lot of duty loads fired on the street are stopped by exit-side skin and clothing, that may be a fair comparison. It's not an exact science for testing our home-brewed cast HP's, but you could do worse than using a formula of 1 milk jug = 4.1" to 4.25" inches of ballistic gel. If you counted the final jug a bullet stops in as 0.75 to 0.9 of a jug penetrated (based on the boundary dents and cracks you have), that math will likely give you a number close to the Jell-O results. If you're working on replicating duty auto loads, strive for stopping in jug #4. If you're building medium game hunting ammo, go for #6.

    Without a "tuned" copper jacket, you'll need to regulate your expansion with either hardness or cavity size. Too much antimony and your nose section will fragment off. The toughening properties of tin are your friend. A 20-1 or 16-1 equivalent mix is a good place to start.
    WWJMBD?

    In the Land of Oz, we cast with wheel weight and 2% Tin, Man.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigslug View Post
    Without a "tuned" copper jacket, you'll need to regulate your expansion with either hardness or cavity size. Too much antimony and your nose section will fragment off. The toughening properties of tin are your friend. A 20-1 or 16-1 equivalent mix is a good place to start.
    Any testing of added Copper?? as is in Babbitt??? Curious

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by racepres View Post
    Any testing of added Copper?? as is in Babbitt??? Curious
    Nope. I read (ok. . .ATTEMPTED to read) a couple of the threads covering the process of working copper into casting alloy. Over my head - or at least my patience level - but really seems like something one would only fiddle with for rifle applications. Applications at handgun pressures and speeds can be handled with stone axe level tech.

    What are you attempting to accomplish?
    WWJMBD?

    In the Land of Oz, we cast with wheel weight and 2% Tin, Man.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigslug View Post
    Nope. I read (ok. . .ATTEMPTED to read) a couple of the threads covering the process of working copper into casting alloy. Over my head - or at least my patience level - but really seems like something one would only fiddle with for rifle applications. Applications at handgun pressures and speeds can be handled with stone axe level tech.

    What are you attempting to accomplish?
    Toughness...Working with Real Babbitt, which has copper in it already, for Toughness... Next, I'm Gonna see how Soft I can go, adding pure lead, to get expansion with the Ability to Hold Together... Just for Grins!! I am Not a HP proponent ...instead I depend on my old 44 Special with Soft (like the Speer Swaged SWC) for effectiveness!!Right? Wrong? Indifferent???? Probably indifferent, as I have Not shot much Bigger than a White-tail with it.. oh and Feral pigs... tho the Pigs generally get the 35 Remington Treatment!!

  15. #15
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    For toughness and internal disruption, how about casting Lehigh shaped bullets with Babbit? I've cast 40:1 and 30:1. Now I am thinking that I should cast 20:1 and 16:1?

  16. #16
    Boolit Mold
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    Wet newspaper is a good back-up to catch any bullets that get thru your medium.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by BJung View Post
    For toughness and internal disruption, how about casting Lehigh shaped bullets with Babbit? I've cast 40:1 and 30:1. Now I am thinking that I should cast 20:1 and 16:1?
    DING! DING! DING!

    25-1 (9BHN), 20-1 (10BHN), 16-1 (11BHN), and 10-1 (12 BHN) span the range between where a solid, flat-nosed bullet will almost definitely deform on impact to where there's a fair chance that it won't, depending on what it hits and how fast. Obviously, a hollow point is there to help initiate deformation. 16-1 is getting to be some pretty tough stuff and would be my starting point for magnums. For the sub-1000 fps, the softer blends should hold together fine.
    WWJMBD?

    In the Land of Oz, we cast with wheel weight and 2% Tin, Man.

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    I'm fortunate to report that I acquired a stack of school workbooks that stack up to 3' high. I will wetpack these for my testing. Maybe for yourselves, if you know a school janitor, he can keep an eye out for you.

    I've been thinking about my tests and am concluding that gas checks help one drive a hp bullet faster and resist obturation and a loss in accuracy. I've read some casters claim that a soft lead bullet is fine. But to retain accuracy, I'll have to shoot at a slower MV and the bullet might not expand. If I increase the hardness, I can shoot a hotter load but it might not expand.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check